Just before the hiding of the colored Easter eggs, unwrapping the coma-inducing sugar Peeps, we celebrate Palm Sunday, the Sunday prior to Easter. Often at church, we sit with large smiles on our faces as the children walk down the aisles waving over-size palm branches. The worship leader steps forward as we bust out a hardy rendition of ‘Hosanna.’
Hosanna. What an amazing prophetic word. Looking at Mark chapter 11, it vividly explains the events of the day. Jesus and the disciples are preparing to come into Jerusalem. Jesus sends two of them ahead to get a young donkey, “Go into that village over there.” He told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.” (v2) Further in the narrative, “When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, He sat on it.” (v7) Jesus steps up and sits down; I believe the colt knew, knew the King of Majesty now draped his back.
As Jesus rides through the cobblestones streets, the crowd begins to yell “Hosanna… Hosanna in the Highest.” waving palm branches with enthusiasm. It was common practice in the ancient world to welcome home a king or war hero by laying down branches in front of them, liken to our ‘ticker tape’ celebrations today.
Hosanna is the Greek version of the Hebrew saying ‘yasha na’ (yaw-shaw naw) meaning ‘Save now we pray.’ This taken from what is known as the Hallel, (Jewish prayerful readings of Psalms 113-118) specifically here, “O LORD, save us; (HOSANNA!) O LORD , grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.” (Psalm 118:25, 26-emphasis mine)
Can we grasp the impact of what they are saying? Jesus was fulfilling the prophetic words of Zechariah, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (9:9)
However, just 4 chapters later, that same crowd was again yelling, but this time; “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:12-14) Little did they know they basically were yelling the same thing. Both times! For you see beloved, for Jesus to ‘save we pray’ they had to ‘Crucify Him!‘ He allowed it. He laid down His life for YOU, and for me. By this act and He resurrecting from the dead with all Kingly authority and power, He stood in the gap, reaching for your hand and placing it in the Fathers hand. He is the Restorer of relationship, God, and mankind.
This weekend, as we sing our ‘Hosannas’ may we whole-heartedly consider the fulfillment. Jesus riding an untamed colt in a King’s procession, the people crying out “SAVE WE PRAY!” THAT He did!
Hosanna, the gospel in one word, good news for today!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
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